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Rosnick Back at Weir

March 23, 2012

WEIRTON - The old saying is that what goes around comes around.

That could be theme for the Weir sports programs as three former head coaches have returned to head the football, baseball and softball programs.

Bob Rosnick, who took the Red Riders baseball team to the state tournament two years in a row (2004-05) is back after a stint as the softball coach along with a couple of years out of coaching.

If you're looking for the Red Riders to make a return trip this year to the state finals, which they won in 2004 and were runner-up in 2005 you could be disappointed because by his own admission

''The ability level is not what it used to be,'' Rosnick said.

Rosnick was coach from 2000-2007 and his teams posted a cumulative record of 134-69 and never had a losing season.

Only 16 boys answered the call for baseball tryouts. During March, Rosnick said he has a couple of players out with injuries and a couple others that are day-to-day with academics, so he may open the season with only 11 players.

''That's a radical departure from when I was here earlier,'' Rosnick explained. ''Back then, we had 35 or 40 kids out for baseball, had to make cuts and dressed 18 players for varsity games.''

Therefore, Rosnick said the battle for starting positions is wide open.

He has four juniors that are two-year lettermen and senior Ryan Mendenhall, who transferred to Weir last summer after spending three seasons on the Madonna baseball team. Mendenhall has playoff experience since he was a sophomore on the Blue Don team that won the state championship two years ago.

Rosnick plans to build the 2012 team around Mendenhall and juniors Zac Knuutila, Ryan Duke, Matt Cessna and Josh Russell, the two-year veterans.

Mendenhall, a lefty, probably will be Weir High's ace pitcher this year. When he's not on the mound, he will be a first base.

Rosnick's two other seniors have no varsity baseball experience. Harley Mills is a candidate at pitcher, designated hitter and third base. However, he hasn't played baseball since he was 12 years old. The other senior is Jarrett Moore, an outfielder who was on the team a year ago, but didn't letter. Moore likely will start the season on the injured list.

Russell likely will be one of the middle infielders. He was the starter at second base a year ago, but is getting a long look at shortstop.

Before an injury to his throwing arm, Russell was getting a lot of competition at shortstop from freshman, William Larch.

Rosnick said Larch also is a pitcher, but he doesn't know when his arm, which he injured in the weight room, will be healed enough for him to contribute.

Three other juniors are vying for infield positions. Jeremy Swartzmiller is at second base, Cessna at third and Zac Midcap at first base.

Knuutila saw some time as the catcher last year and also on the mound, while Ryan Duke looks like he'll be the center fielder where he played a year ago.

Another junior, Lance Beck, is vying for playing time at catcher and he also is a member of the pitching staff.

Rosnick said he is impressed with the work of freshman Mike Curtis behind the plate. Curtis also pitches.

Two other freshmen also have caught his eye. They are outfielders Will Larett and Joe DeStefano. Larett also is on the pitching staff.

Rosnick said that other than Mendenhall his pitching staff doesn't have much experience.

Knuutila, Swartzmiller and sophomore Mitch Viakely got on the mound for a few innings last year. Viakely also is a candidate to play third base and another sophomore, Chris Russell, is looking sharp in right field.


Mar. 24: Monroe Central (2)noon

Mar. 26: Madonna4:30 p.m.

Mar. 27: at Bellaire5:30 p.m.

Mar. 28: East Liverpool5 p.m.

Mar. 29: Steubenville5 p.m.

Mar. 31: Martins Ferry (2)noon

Apr. 3: at Indian Creek5:30 p.m.

Apr. 4: at Bishop Donahue5:30 p.m.

Apr. 7: at Buckeye Local (2)11 a.m.

Apr. 10: Oak Glen5 p.m.

Apr. 11: at Steubenville5:30 p.m.

Apr. 12: Bishop Donahue5 p.m.

Apr. 14: at Meadowbrook (2)3 p.m.

Apr. 16: Brooke5 p.m.

Apr. 17: St. Clairsville5 p.m.

Apr. 18: at Toronto5:30 p.m.

Apr. 19: Burgettstown5 p.m.

Apr. 23: at East Liverpool5:30 p.m.

Apr. 26: at John Marshall5:30 p.m.

Apr. 28: at Harrison Central (2)noon

May 1: at Brooke5:30 p.m.

May 2: Indian Creek5 p.m.

May 4: Madonna 7 p.m.

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